Purely Political, By James Buckley
I’ve taken the following from a letter I received about a month ago and have meant to respond immediately but … things happen. In any case, now seems an appropriate time to dispel some of the more egregious mistruths (lies?) told regularly about Donald Trump.
“You have every right to support the former president,” says my “friendly” letter writer (who I’ve not named because I’m not sure he wanted his name attached to it), “but I’d like to tell you why I would never vote for him. I am a lifelong Republican until he came along. Trump is a serial liar.”
After that humble opening, graciously allowing yours truly “every right to support” Mr. Trump, my “lifelong Republican” letter-writing friend lit out with a great number of “facts” that were simply not true. I can’t go through every statement made (and there were many), but thought I’d challenge some of the misinformation being promulgated. Some are just silly.
For example, claiming that Donald Trump “laid the foundation of his first campaign on the ‘birther’ myth.” The former president certainly expressed skepticism about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, as did many. Suspicion arose from publicist Acton & Dystel’s 1991 brochure boasting that their new client — the young Harvard Law School grad and author Barack Obama who wrote “Dreams from My Father” — was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” Mr. Obama finally — reluctantly — produced his Hawaiian birth certificate to dispel the controversy.
Mr. Trump jumped into the birther issue with both feet but didn’t “lay the foundation” of his run for the presidency on where Mr. Obama was or wasn’t born. He had much larger issues in mind.
As for Mr. Trump’s “lying” about the 2020 election, recent revelations about the role of the FBI and the Justice Department have put into serious question the integrity of that election. I too believe it was “stolen” and certainly can’t fault Mr. Trump for coming to that conclusion.
Here are more charges worth disputing:
“He mocked a disabled reporter.”
I remember the incident, and the president’s explanation was: “If (Washington Post reporter) Mr. Kovaleski is handicapped, I would not know because I do not know what he looks like. If I did know, I would definitely not say anything about his appearance.” The faces Mr. Trump used to illustrate the reporter’s demeanor were unfortunate, but I have no doubt he had no idea what the man looked like.
“He mocked a Gold Star family.”
Khizr Khan, the father in a Gold Star family, had been invited to and been given a place of honor at the 2016 Democratic Convention. His son had died fighting in Iraq, and Mr. Khan harshly criticized then-candidate Trump, who struck back, but never “mocked” a Gold Star family. President Trump has always shown much respect for military families, though he’s been very critical of the military leadership.
“As a candidate, he advocated for the use of torture on prisoners.”
He did no such thing. What he did do was ponder aloud what should and/or could be done if a prisoner had information that a nuclear device was about to be detonated and that tens of thousands of Americans were about to be incinerated. He then proffered that perhaps one may feel differently about “torture” under certain circumstances.
“He called on Russia to find the missing 33,000 Clinton emails and subsequently said that he would never ask for Russian help.”
Anyone who watched the debates and saw or heard Mr. Trump’s statements remembers quite clearly that he jokingly turned to face the cameras during one of the televised debates with Ms. Clinton during the 2016 campaign and asked (while smiling broadly), “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Apparently, no one on the Democratic side had any problem with Mrs. Clinton’s destroying over 30,000 emails on the phones she used (with the use of Bleach-Bit, hammers, and other devices) that had been subpoenaed by Congressional investigators.
“He labeled Stormy Daniels ‘horse face’ and Rosie O’Donnell ‘a pig.’”
Intemperate and certainly impolite, but honestly, both women — particularly Ms. O’Donnell — called Mr. Trump many worse names. It was a spitting match, and both sides hocked some lugers. Un-ladylike and un-presidential, but there it is.
“He indicated he was going to appoint his personal doctor, Dr. Ronny Jackson, as head of the VA despite him having no executive or administrative experience.”
Dr. Ronny Jackson was the White House physician who’d also been President Obama’s White House physician. As for “no executive or administrative experience,” all I can say is you’ve got to be kidding.
“He did appoint his personal bodyguard to be head of White House security.”
I don’t know all the facts about this, but who could he trust more?
“When asked about John McCain being a hero, Trump said he liked people who weren’t captured. When McCain died, Trump refused to fly the White House flag at half-staff.”
Sen. John McCain was an American hero, so I take issue with President Trump’s statement here, but Mr. McCain was also the “Republican” U.S. senator who single-handedly squashed the president’s proposal to phase out Obamacare, a top priority and main campaign promise of the Republican Party and President Trump. The two men had little to no good words for each other.
“He dismisses the intelligence community’s assessments offering no proof to his position. They cite facts; he doesn’t cite anything other than his own position.”
After learning what it has wrought in recent years, President Trump turned out to have made a 100% accurate assessment of the so-called “intelligence community.”
“He doesn’t believe that climate change is happening. He doesn’t understand the difference between ‘weather’ and ‘climate.’”
Now that California has determined it is in this state’s best interest to shift to all-electric vehicles by 2030 without a commitment to expand and improve the electric grid and its power-generating capacity, the president was right to be both cynical about the climate change agenda and skeptical about the boneheaded “solutions” being proposed.
“When asked why he didn’t go to pay his respects upon John Lewis’s passing, President Trump replied that Lewis didn’t go to his inauguration, so ‘what the hey.’ And he refused to admire Lewis’ life of protesting for ‘good trouble.’”
U.S. Rep. John Lewis was an extremely partisan Democrat politician who regularly expressed disdain for President Trump, and Mr. Trump treated him as such. He probably won’t attend Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s or former President Bill Clinton’s funerals either.
And, finally, perhaps the things that really bug our “lifelong Republican” letter writer, who, I surmise, prefers President Biden’s Angry Old Man act and insufferable incompetence:
“Unimportant reasons I dislike him: a) his hair, b) his tie is too long, c) when he comes on stage, he claps in response to the audience; as far as I know, only autocrats like Putin and Kim and Xi do that, d) he never buttons his suit jacket, e) the way he says ‘CHI-na.’”
Aah, now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty …
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at email@example.com. Readers are invited to visit jimb.substack.com, where Jim’s Journals are on file. He also invites people to subscribe to Jim’s Journal.